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Internet disruption: a growing and global phenomenon

Countries shutting down the internet most. CC BY-ND.

Across the globe, the internet has penetrated everyday activities to such an extent that any disruption in access directly affects a vast array of human activities: personal communication, consumption and production of information, business and trade, rescue operations. Indeed nearly 60 percent of the planet’s population is now connected to the internet. 

It is important to distinguish between the different types of disruption and to understand the reasons – technological, political, commercial and cultural that explain why the internet can suddenly be slow, partially blocked or completely unavailable, and at what scale within a country, a region or even a city. 

Global Voices continues to cover this topic extensively as the frequency of internet disruption is accelerating, a trend likely to increase in 2020. On this Special Coverage page, we provide detailed definitions of the different terms associated with internet shutdowns, interviews with experts on technology, solutions and civic activism, and regular in-depth stories about how internet disruption happens around the globe and affects local communities.

As we continue to update this page, read more in the following stories:

Two Iranian rights activists revisit the November 2019 internet shutdown

New report makes grim predictions for “Fortress RuNet’

What do we know about the ‘Great Firewall of India'?

Supreme Court of India declares internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir unconstitutional

Internet disruption: different terms for different tactics

Longest internet disruption in Myanmar's Rakhine state sets dangerous precedent

What lies ahead for the RuNet in 2020? 

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